Buller District Council

Media Release- People Powered 7 Day Makeover To Happen In Westport

22nd August, 2017

A public space in Westport is set to get a 7 Day Makeover.  Which space this will be is yet to be decided, but this will happen with consultation over the coming month, depending on interest, it may be more than one.   The space will be transformed on a shoe-string budget, in just seven days, using people-power. The makeover is scheduled for the last week in November.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for our town,” Mayor Garry Howard said. “David Engwicht, creator of the 7 Day Makeover, will teach us a whole new way to create great public spaces, which is cheaper and delivers instant results.”

For the past 25 years, David Engwicht, from Creative Communities, has been helping towns around the world transform tired, underused and unappreciated public spaces into vibrant community hubs.

“But I was frustrated,” David said. “Change was often a slog, and not a lot of fun. Processes often got bogged down in endless committee meetings. Good people would throw up their hands and give up. I watched in dismay as innovative projects were often killed off by the town naysayers. So to overcome these problems, I created the 7 Day Makeover.”

“The secret to the success of the 7 Day Makeover is that it’s driven by the public and works on an impossibly short time-line with a very limited budget. So it doesn’t get bogged down in meetings and processes.”

David said he is constantly surprised by what communities can achieve in just seven days. “It is often 700% better than I imagined in my wildest dreams.”

People of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate, even if they can only give one hour.

David Engwicht will present an INFO NIGHT, explaining how the 7 Day Makeover will work, and how people can get involved in mid October –  Details will be advertised as soon as this is confirmed.

You can also get the latest information on the Council facebook page, like or follow the page to be kept up to date.

The 7 Day Makeover is part of a wider ‘Westport Revitalisation’ project, which is focused on the Clock Tower and the area surrounding this as a ‘cultural hub’ and better connection and utilisation of the waterfront area.     The Council is creating a design framework for these areas to translate short term wins into a long term strategy and set of initiatives / projects which can be included in the 2018-2028 Long term plan.  Urban Kin will be supporting BDC and Creative Communities through this project using ‘place-based’ methods.

Urban Kin is a design company which helps cities create places that offer delightful experiences and economic opportunity through user-experience design, urban design, and lean startup methods. Geoff Wilkinson / Urban Kin says that the methods are proven to get results and recently helped Napier, NZ win a Local Government Excellence Award in the Best Creative Place category for their City Vision project

 BDC Chief Executive Andy Gowland-Douglas says: “ We chose this innovative approach to delivering this project over others as too many times in past we have seen plans created with minimal community input that  have cost money and ended up on a shelf never to be seen again.  The 7 day makeover creates upfront community engagement and ownership in the project and will have a tangible, visible outcome.  It will show us as a community what is possible if we start now with the resources we have instead of waiting for the ‘ideal’ time, or for more resources to be available.  This time may never come and in the meantime we are in limbo.  The plan created will be agile enough that we can adapt to any changes in circumstances, and we can continue to make progress one piece at time.   It will also allow groups such as Buller Cycling Club to have certainty on which areas they can go ahead and develop as they see fit.  This is a really exciting project for our town which can be used as a template for other parts of the district in the future.  We are really excited to be working with David and Geoff to make this happen and hope as many people as possible get behind the project and get involved, any contribution, no matter how small will make a difference”


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